Dimitris Papaioannou

The Great Tamer

24 MAY – 11 JUN 2017
Main Stage
Dimitris Papaioannou has been quietly preparing to surprise his audience once again with a second production at the OCC to be staged in 2017.
Early Bird presale from 28 March 2017 | 25 - 28 - 32 €
Limited Early Bird tickets - Up to 4 tickets per buyer

General ticket sale from 26 April 2017
Full price: 7 - 15 - 25 - 30 - 35 - 40 - 45 €
Reduced, Friend & Small groups (5-9 people): 12 - 20 - 24 - 28 - 32 - 36 €
Large groups (10+ people): 11 - 18 - 21 - 25 - 28 - 32 €
People with disabilities & Unemployed: 5 € | Companions: 10 €

Group ticket reservations at
Dimitris Papaioannou’s new project is under construction. Involving 11 performers on stage, the work takes shape around the notion that human life can be seen as a journey of discovery, an exploration for hidden treasure, an inner archaeological excavation for meaning.

In his thirty years of work Papaioannou has striven to create a universe on stage that could be described as a dreamlike absurd circus. Human bodies become battlegrounds, interacting with raw materials, fusing into hybrids, giving rise to optical illusions. His rootedness in the fine arts gives his performances a strong visual feel, as he juggles teasingly with art-historical references, various practices of expression and performing, and ideas about our origins. Dimitris Papaioannou aims at an utter simplicity of appearance that is far from simple to achieve. His intention is to shed light on the sacred in the mundane.

As an artist, performer, comic creator, choreographer, director and exhibition curator, Dimitris Papaioannou is always one step ahead. The legendary Edafos Dance Theatre which he founded and created with Angeliki Stellatou stirred up the Greek dance scene of the Eighties and Nineties with productions that inducted audiences into a highly personal visual universe. Then, riding the wave of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the acclaimed opening and closing ceremonies which he oversaw as creative director, Papaioannou broke new ground with performances that attracted audiences in numbers near unprecedented for contemporary dance. The choreographer used cutting-edge technology to frame his personal artistic world in productions like 2 and INSIDE, but Primal Matter and Still Life, which marked an opening up to international scenes, saw him return to a more pared-down aesthetic. Papaioannou continued to moves easily between the spectacle of opening ceremonies and more personal works whose gaze is fixed on the world as he knows it.


Produced by: Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens
Co-produced by: CULTURESCAPES Greece 2017 (Switzerland), Dansens Hus Sweden (Sweden), EdM Productions, Festival d'Avignon (France), Fondazione Campania dei Festival – Napoli Teatro Festival Italia (Italy)Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg), National Performing Arts Center-National Theater & Concert Hall | NPAC - NTCH (Taiwan), Seoul Performing Arts Festival | SPAF (Korea), Théâtre de la Ville - Paris / La Villette - Paris (France)
Executive Producer: 2WORKS

read more

Dimitris Papaioannou started out as a visual artist. Having studied painting with Yannis Tsarouchis from the age of 17, he continued his studies at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Dimitris Mytaras and Rena Papaspyrou.

Later, having taken dance classes at the Mary Tsouti schools and with Erick Hawkins in New York, he set up the Edafos Dance Theatre with Angeliki Stellatou in 1986. During his 16 years with the Edafos Dance Theatre (1986-2002), Dimitris Papaioannou conceived, directed and choreographed all 17 of its productions, which won various Greek state dance and production awards. A key work from this period was Medea (1993), which he would later update and restage in Athens and Beijing as Medea2 in 2008.

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, which he conceived, choreographed and directed, received rave reviews in the Greek and international Press. In recognition of these contributions, he was awarded the Gold Cross of the Order of Honour by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos.

Starting in 2009, Papaioannou began to explore ways of achieving the greatest possible simplicity in his work and of redefining the raw materials of his stage productions. Nowhere (2009), Inside (2011), and Primal Matter (2012) all formed part of this quest. The latter, which was produced for the Athens Festival with minimal means, once again brought his work to the attention of an international audience. His experiments also gave rise to StillLife, which we saw at the OCC in 2014.

In 2015, the internationally-fêted Greek artist was in the European spotlight once again when he took charge of the opening ceremony for the first European Games, in Baku, Azerbaijan. The ceremony’s impressive aesthetic would earn him no fewer than six Emmy award nominations.

sponsoring / partnerships

Supported by

Hospitality sponsor

Medical cover